This sample of an academic paper on How Does Shakespeare Use Imagery reveals arguments and important aspects of this topic. Read this essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion below.
“It is the east and Juliet is the sun, arise fair sun and kill the envious moon.
” Romeo is standing underneath Juliet’s balcony, Romeo sees Juliet as the centre of his universe thus emphasising the importance of Juliet in his heart. He describes Juliet as being the sun and as she rises she kills the envious moon. Shakespeare uses a lot of imagery and literary techniques to make his plays a lot more. The relevance he used astronomical references in his plays as his audience were Elizabethan, and were keen astronomers. Romeo compares Juliet to the sun; and it is as if Romeo cannot live without Juliet just like he needs the sun, this fits with the end of the play as at the end of the play Romeo thinks that Juliet is dead and with that Romeo kills himself.
When Romeo first sees Juliet he expresses her beauty with several comparisons and describes her as someone that stands out in front of the crowd. He does this in this speech
“O she doth teach the torches to burn bright.” This expresses that she is a leader as she teaches other torches to burn bright and that she is bright and glowing. Shakespeare like to exaggerate the description of the sentence, he also uses a vast array of oxymorons.
“O she doth teach the torches to burn bright.” Is very important as Elizabethan audience didn’t have any scenery to look at so they would have to imagine it all in their minds. This sentence’s impact gives the audience a picture of a softly lit dim hall.
“So shows a snowy dove trooping with the crows” This sentence emphasises that she stands out from the crowd of ‘Crows’. This sentence makes a comparison between light and dark. This type of comparison is use through out the play.
In the beginning when Romeo meets Juliet, Romeo Speaks to Juliet and tries to court her. Shakespeare uses the Elizabethan literary form called a sonnet to bring the speech alive. A sonnet must be exactly 14 lines long and end with a rhyming couplet. The sonnet in this particular part of the play is used as a dramatic device to separate Romeo and Juliet from the crowd. It is recognisably different to the way Romeo has been talking about Rosaline.
Juliet says to Romeo:
“For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch, and palm to palm is holy palmers’ kiss.” Romeo is touching Juliet’s hand, which she thinks he should use to pray with instead. Shakespeare cleverly uses religious imagery to make Romeo and Juliet’s love seem special. The effect of the religious imagery in this sonnet is very powerful as it frequently refers to pilgrims.
“O then dear saint, let lips do what hands do.” Romeo is suggesting here that instead of using hands to pray they should use their lips to pray. This is a very subtle way of asking for a kiss. Shakespeare uses religious imagery to show that Juliet is special to Romeo and that in a way he worships her. Right at the end of the sonnet Juliet says ‘Saints do not move’ Juliet describes herself as a statue, but ironically at the end of the play when she dies, a statue is erected of her.
The balcony scene is in my opinion the best crafted scene in Romeo and Juliet as it is very well written, the scene foreshadows the outcome, and the death of the two characters Romeo and Juliet. In this scene Shakespeare shows us the intricacy of young love, the mastery of the sky in every form the sun, the moon, the stars and the heaven. This shows that the love between Romeo and Juliet are the only spark of light amongst the feuding and hatred of the two families.
The balcony scene links directly with the scene before where Mercutio is looking for Romeo.
This is because the first sentence spoken by Romeo
“He jests at scars that never felt a wound.”
is a rhyming couplet with the last sentence spoken by Mercutio
“To seek him here that means not to be found.”
This connection show how quickly that the decisions in the play are made and how rushed and un-thought of they were, the decision makers in the play often do not think about the outcome of the chosen path. We see that in the play Juliet is willing to get red of her name, Capulet for Romeo. This concept shows that Juliet is willing to do anything for Romeo and it links directly to the end of the play where she takes the ultimate act and kills herself for love. The balcony scene links directly to the feuding between the two families as the balcony scene is set in a garden surrounded by high walls, this portrays the fact that Romeo and Juliet are trapped between the feuding of the Montague’s and the Capulet’s.
“The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars, as daylight doth a lamp; her eyes in heaven.”
Shakespeare likes to use imagery associated with the sky, his imagery techniques are remarkably good as he likes to refer to heaven; their is a close relation between the heaven and angel thus describing Juliet as someone who is in heaven, would portray her as an angel.
“O for a falconer’s voice, to lure this tassel-gentle back again.”
Their are many references to falconry in the balcony scene
This imagery enhances the drama because they are both trapped and they both have a lot to accomplish before they can be together.
The tomb scene shows Romeo and Juliet’s despair, courage and devotion, it is a scene that conveys finality and despair rather than happiness and freedom.
“I dreamt my lady came and found me dead”
This is said in the scene before the tomb scene, but this speech uses dramatic irony as in the tomb scene Juliet does wake up to find the sight of Romeo dead. The use of Romeo’s dream is meant to foreshadow the tragedy at the end of the play. The atmosphere in the tomb is very sad
“With worms that are they chamber-maids”
The horrible imagery used in the tomb scene is unhappy and a atmosphere is also present in the tomb with the “monster” and “bloody sheet” that Romeo spoke of and also the reference to “flesh”. This intensifies the drama too, because we associate scary things when we think of death. This quote also relates to the balcony scene in which Romeo says that Juliet is the moon’s chambermaid helping us to bear in mind the scene where their love was once so perfect and romantic but has ended in tragedy.
In conclusion, Shakespeare shows us that in the end love is more powerful that hatred and that good will triumph over evil. Shakespeare uses so much wonderful descriptive imagery that without it the play would be boring. But I am sure that only Shakespeare would be able to create such a romantic and uplifting play. His ways with the imagery he uses intensifies the whole play. He is able to describe the characters feelings in a very convincing way.